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Dr. Mehmet Oz was asked in a hearing today on his role in promoting faulty weight loss pills in ads.

Jun 17 2014, 5:54pm CDT | by , in News

Dr. Mehmet Oz was asked in a hearing today on his role in promoting faulty weight loss pills in ads.
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for TIME

Dr. Mehmet Oz says he was the victim of ad placements using his own quotes for their benefit.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the eponymous doctor in The Dr. Oz Show, was grilled in a hearing today on his role in promoting faulty weight loss pills. 

Oz appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee that was looking into a "crisis in consumer protection," and he quickly became a target.

Senator Claire McCaskill led the attack, first throwing some back-handed compliments his way:

"I can't figure this out, Dr. Oz. I get that you do a lot of good on your show. I understand that you give a lot of information that's great information about health and you do it in a way that's easily understandable. You're very talented, you're obviously very bright, you've been trained in science-based medicine. "

And then bringing up some of the cringe-worthy things he's said about weight loss: products:
 
"Now, here's three statements you made on your show: "You may think magic is make believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they've found the magic weight loss cure for every body type, it's green coffee extract." Quote: "I've got the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. It's raspberry ketone." Quote: "Garcinia cambogia, it may be the simple solution you've been looking for to bust your body fat for good."

She concluded, "I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true."

Oz's weak defense basically came down to an acknowledgement that television and sound medical advice don't really mix (emphasis ours): 

"I actually do personally believe in the items that I talk about on the show. I passionately study them. I recognize that oftentimes they don’t have the scientific muster to pass as fact... My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience. And when they don't think they have hope, when they don't think they can make it happen I want to look everywhere, including at alternative healing traditions for any evidence that might be supportive to them," Dr. Oz said.

He said he is "definitely going to be more careful" to avoid having his words appear in unsanctioned ads.

McCaskill promised she didn't call the hearing to "beat up" on Oz, but instead because of a "crisis in consumer protection" and Oz said he came because he wants to "be part of the solution not part of the problem."

"I've heard the message and I get it," he said.

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